Sunday, October 14, 2012

Genesis, Part II

Genesis, Part I is on my Facebook page.

I'm proud of my son, TJ. When he started chewing tobacco, I had my doubts, but he won me over on that score. I come from a world where it is much better to smoke Camels and stink up the whole room. Children, it is definitely better to chew than smoke, but I'm still advocating smoking. What really matters is that we not stop consuming tobacco just because it is unhealthy. What is life for? You decide and chew or smoke whatever you desire. That is called freedom. The land of the free is occupied by criminals. They are the only ones who are free of the constraints of the law.

In the beginning... in Greek is En arche, from which we derive, archeology, the search for beginnings. And this week we begin reading Genesis again. I return to it year after year and it never disappoints. With regard to J, P, and E, Robert Alter comments, "One need not claim that Genesis is a unitary artwork, like say, a novel by Henry James, in order to grant it integrity as a book. ... It is quite apparent that a composite artistry, of literary composition through a collage of textual materials, was generally to be assumed to be normal procedure in ancient Israelite culture."

Genesis is about the history of Israels relationship with God, but it also explains the origins of the universe and life, the becoming human and the origins of language. As many of you, no doubt know, the theory that modern languages developed after God destroyed the tower of Babel has been refuted by modern linguists. Still, I like the Tower of Babel theory.

And here is Robert Alter's brilliant new translation of the most famous first sentence in all of literature:

When God began to create heaven and earth, and the earth was welter and waste and darkness over the deep and God's breath hovering over the waters, God said, "Let there be light."

Thank God for the brilliant young particle physicist turned cosmologist, Lawrence Kraus for his new little book, A Universe from Nothing: Why is there something rather than noting." Kraus explains how the universe really came into being and God had nothing to do with it. Just as the explanation of the origin of language is wrong, the explanation of the origin of the universe if wrong as well. It turns out the universe if 13.72 billion years old. And that is how we know there is no God, because there is no more room for God in explaining anything. We have it all explained now and the Biblical explanation - that God created the universe is clearly wrong.

It's a wonderful little book explaining where cosmology is just now but he feels compelled to take on the ancillary task of arguing that there is no more room for God because he just explained almost everything without needing God. As if God exists to explain anything. He is like an Idiot Savant. - Part I... will follow.

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